Faculty

Jennifer Balkus

Associate Professor, Epidemiology

206-616-6614
jbalkus@uw.edu

Education

PhD Epidemiology, University of Washington, 2012
MPH Epidemiology, University of Washington, 2005
BA Women Studies, Wesleyan University, 2000

Contact

206-616-6614
jbalkus@uw.edu

Box 357236
Department of Epidemiology
Health Sciences Building, F-261E
Seattle, WA 98195

Bio

Dr. Balkus is an infectious disease epidemiologist whose research spans across the fields of sexual and reproductive health with a specific focus on questions that interface between the vaginal microbiome and STI & HIV prevention among both pregnant and non-pregnant people. Dr. Balkus is passionate about improving genital health for all people with a vagina and has contributed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention STD guidelines for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis.  She has expertise in conducting both clinical trials and observational studies, in the US and globally, and currently leads two NIH R01-supported research projects. The first is evaluating the relationship between vaginal bacterial and susceptibility to Chlamydia trachomatis infection among a cohort of cisgender women in Kenya. The second project is assessing opportunities to improve STI testing and treatment to reduce STI recurrence among a cohort of cisgender adolescent girls and young women in South Africa. Dr. Balkus is also an Affiliate Investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she is an investigator with the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) and the Infectious Disease Clinical Research  Consortium (IDCRC). She serves on protocol teams for two ongoing MTN trials that are assessing the safety of the dapivirine vaginal ring in pregnant and postpartum breastfeeding individuals and an upcoming IDCRC trial assessing the SARS-CoV-2 immune response among pregnant individuals who receive different vaccine platforms during pregnancy. In addition to her research, Dr. Balkus teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Public Health and serves as the faculty co-chair or the Department of Epidemiology’s Equity and Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Research Interests

  • Vaginal microbiome
  • STI prevention
  • HIV risk prediction
  • Hormonal contraception
  • Women
  • Africa

Recent Publications (PubMed)

Correction to: Intimate Partner Violence and Engagement in the HIV Care Continuum among Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Prospective Cohort Study.
(2022 Nov 8)
AIDS Behav
Roberts ST, van der Straten A, Rael CT, Gorbach PM, Palanee-Phillips T, Reddy K, Naidoo K, Dadabhai S, Chinula L, Gaffoor Z, Levy L, Balkus JE, Riddler SA

High prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in pregnant women after the second wave of infections in the inner-city of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa.
(2022 Nov 5)
Int J Infect Dis 125(): 241-249
Sawry S, Le Roux J, Wolter N, Mbatha P, Bhiman J, Balkus J, von Gottberg A, Cohen C, Chersich M, Kekana M, Ndlovu T, Shipalana A, Mthimunye W, Patel F, Gous H, Walaza S, Tempia S, Rees H, Fairlie L

Intimate Partner Violence and Engagement in the HIV Care Continuum among Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Prospective Cohort Study.
(2022 Sep 13)
AIDS Behav
Roberts ST, van der Straten A, Rael CT, Gorbach PM, Palanee-Phillips T, Reddy K, Naidoo K, Dadabhai S, Chinula L, Gaffoor Z, Levy L, Balkus JE, Riddler SA

Feasibility of community at-home dried blood spot collection combined with pooled reverse transcription PCR as a viable and convenient method for malaria epidemiology studies.
(2022 Jul 14)
Malar J 21(1): 221
Hergott DEB, Owalla TJ, Balkus JE, Apio B, Lema J, Cemeri B, Akileng A, Seilie AM, Chavtur C, Staubus W, Chang M, Egwang TG, Murphy SC

Contraceptive use among cisgender women with bacterial sexually transmitted infections: A cross-sectional study.
(2022 Aug)
Int J STD AIDS 33(9): 864-872
Blain M, Micks E, Dombrowski J, Balkus JE, Barbee L

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